Michael Jackson
**FILE** Michael Jackson addresses a press conference at the O2 arena in London, on March 5, 2009, to announce he will play a series of comeback concerts in London in July, his first major shows for over a decade. (Carl de SouzaAFP/Getty Images)

Thirty-eight years ago, Michael Jackson released his groundbreaking “Thriller” album, and the music world has never been the same.

Jackson himself would never be the same either.

The album, which featured such iconic hits as “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and a duet with Paul McCartney, “The Girl is Mine,” has sold an estimated 66 million copies worldwide since its Nov. 30, 1982, and has traded places regularly with the Greatest Hits of the Eagles as the best-selling U.S. album of all time.

“The King of Pop” would go on to capture the imagination of an entire generation, winning eight Grammy Awards for Thriller, including Record and Album of the Year, and Producer of the Year.

A year later, he released the Thriller video, which broke barriers and instantly became the most-watched music video ever.

Jackson’s 1983 performance of “Billie Jean,” during the celebration of Motown’s 25th Anniversary, earned him an Emmy nomination and a telephone call from Fred Astaire.

“It was the most extraordinary thing, a most special moment,” Jackson said at the time.

Today, artists young and old are still trying to copy Jackson’s blueprint for success, and most still revere him. Jackson died in 2009 at the age of 50.

Recently, Rolling Stone paid homage to Jackson with “12 Thrilling Facts About Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Video.”

“In adolescence, youngsters begin to grow hair in unexpected places, and parts of their anatomy swell and grow,” director John Landis explained, regarding the role of the werewolf metaphor in cinematic history. “Everyone experiences these physical transformations in their bodies and new, unfamiliar, sexual thoughts in their minds. No wonder we readily accept the concept of a literal metamorphosis.”

Further, the largest number of people doing the “Thriller” zombie-dance routine, according to the Guinness Book of World Records: “13,597 participants in an event organized by the Instituto de la Juventud del Gobierno del Distrito Federal at the Monumento a la Revolucion, Mexico City, Mexico, on 29 Aug 2009.”

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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